Easton Economic Development Corporation, March 15, 2022
Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) and For All Seasons (FAS) have partnered for many years to provide mental health screening and treatment services for the guests in TIS’ S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success). S4 is a holistic program that aims to address the root causes of poverty and homelessness and assists local families and individuals to achieve lasting self-sufficiency. Since TIS opened its shelter at Easton’s Promise in 2014, For All Seasons has provided many guests under TIS’ care with the mental health assistance they needed to move forward successfully.
With education as a key component of progress through the S4 Program, the two organizations recently expanded their partnership to include educational programming. Since the inception of the program, TIS guests have attended classes on such topics as health, parenting, nutritional cooking, relapse prevention, job readiness, and poverty. These classes are designed to provide the guests with “as many tools in their toolbox as possible,” according to TIS’ Director of Operations Fran Doran.
In previous years, parenting classes were taught in partnership with the Talbot Department of Social Services, but when COVID hit, those classes and many others taught by outside service partners were suspended or shifted to virtual-only. During their quest to resume these programs in person, TIS reached out to For All Seasons, who jumped on board to help provide parenting education.
During bi-monthly sessions with facilitators from For All Seasons, the parents in TIS’ family shelter and transitional apartments will gain an understanding of the importance of supportive and nurturing relationships with children, learn the skills and knowledge to promote positive parent-child interactions and have a safe place to discuss and find solutions to any parenting challenges they are facing.
In addition to parenting classes, For All Seasons and TIS are increasing their efforts to address the mental health and wellbeing of the guests in the S4 Program with a series of three training programs. These sessions will be aimed at TIS’ guests, staff and volunteers, and leadership, respectively.
All guests at Talbot Interfaith Shelter will participate in a four-session Mental Health Literacy training. Under the supervision of For All Seasons’ professionals, guests will gain a core understanding of mental health and wellness, be able to identify and discuss specific topics of interest and learn basic mental health skills, including seeking help when needed.
TIS staff and interested volunteers will be attending a course entitled Mental Health 101 For Service Providers. Over the course of two sessions, they will learn to understand the fundamentals of mental health, be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and mental illness, demonstrate an understanding of what to do when symptoms are identified, and learn and act on the importance of self-care.
Finally, the shelter’s Board of Directors and key staff will work with For All Seasons’ representatives to complete Governing From a Trauma-Informed Lens. During a combined six hours of training, board members will learn to recognize the impact and relevance of mental health to Talbot Interfaith Shelter’s Mission, be empowered to lead and govern the organization through a trauma-informed lens, and collaborate to create and enhance a culture of mental health at TIS.
“One of the things we are so proud of at TIS,” says Executive Director Julie Lowe, “is the connections that we have made with other local service providers. Our goal is to provide our guests with as many resources as possible to help them reach success. The expansion of our partnership with For All Seasons is a wonderful step forward for our guests and for our organization as a whole.”
Beth Ann Langrell, CEO of For All Seasons, shares Lowe’s sentiment. She says, “We have always supported the mission of TIS and the organization’s commitment to helping its guests move from homelessness to self-sufficiency. We hope by providing skills for parenting and maintaining overall mental health to its guests, staff, and board that our agency can have an impact on the guests’ journeys to wellness.”
Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is a homeless shelter and transitional housing program based in Easton, MD, and serving the five counties of the Mid-Shore (Talbot, Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne, and Dorchester). Families and individuals staying with TIS are required to participate in their S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success). S4 guides guests step-by-step from homelessness to self-sufficiency by providing shelter, case management, connection to local service providers, and educational programming. When guests are ready, they are invited to move into one of TIS’ off-site transitional apartments. TIS partially subsidizes their rent, and they continue to receive rigorous case management and to participate in classes as they work gradually towards taking over their full expenses over the course of approximately two years.